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Srimad Bhagavatam




Austin, TX, USA

3 September 2023

00:00 / 01:04

Sankarshan Das:Srimad Bhagavatam, 4th Canto, Chapter 23, Verse 28.

sa vañcito batātma-dhruk

kṛcchreṇa mahatā bhuvi

labdhvāpavargyaṁ mānuṣyaṁ

viṣayeṣu viṣajjate

Translation and purport by Srila Prabhupada. Any person who engages himself within this material world in performing activities that necessitate great struggle, and who, after obtaining a human form of life — which is a chance to attain liberation from miseries — undertakes the difficult tasks of fruitive activities, must be considered to be cheated and envious of his own self.

Well, that's a pretty heavy thing. One is envious of his own self. That's a very heavy, I'm envious of myself. That's a very, very interesting, deep concept. We have to see how Prabhupad elaborates in his purport.

Therefore, In this material world people are engaged in different activities simply to achieve a little success in sense gratification. The karmīs are engaged in performing very difficult activities, and thus they open gigantic factories, build huge cities, make big scientific discoveries, etc. In other words, they are engaged in performing very costly sacrifices in order to be promoted to the higher planetary systems. Similarly, yogīs are engaged in achieving a similar goal by accepting the tedious practices of mystic yoga. Jñānīs are engaged in philosophical speculation in order to gain release from the clutches of material nature. In these ways everyone is engaged in performing very difficult tasks simply for the gratification of the senses. All of these are considered to be engaged in sense gratificatory activities (or viṣaya) because they all demand some facility for material existence. Actually the results of such activities are temporary. As Kṛṣṇa Himself proclaims in Bhagavad-gītā (7.23), antavat tu phalaṁ teṣām: “The fruits [of those who worship the demigods] are limited and temporary.” Thus the fruits of the activities of the yogīs, karmīs and jñānīs are ephemeral. Moreover, Kṛṣṇa says, tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām: “They are simply meant for men of small intelligence.” The word viṣaya denotes sense gratification. The karmīs flatly state that they want sense gratification. The yogīs also want sense gratification, but they want it to a higher degree. It is their desire to show some miraculous results through the practice of yoga. Thus they strive very hard to achieve success in becoming smaller than the smallest or greater than the greatest, or in creating a planet like earth or, as scientists, by inventing so many wonderful machines. Similarly, the jñānīs are also engaged in sense gratification, for they are simply interested in becoming one with the Supreme. Thus the aim of all these activities is sense gratification to a higher or a lower degree. The bhaktas, however, are not interested in sense gratificatory practices; they are simply satisfied to get an opportunity to serve the Lord. Although they are satisfied in any condition, there is nothing they cannot obtain, because they are purely engaged in the service of the Lord.

The wives of the demigods condemn the performers of sense gratificatory activities as vañcita, cheated. Those so engaged are actually killing themselves (ātma-hā). As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.17):

nṛ-deham ādyaṁ sulabhaṁ sudurlabhaṁ

plavaṁ sukalpaṁ guru-karṇadhāram

mayānukūlena nabhasvateritaṁ

pumān bhavābdhiṁ na taret sa ātma-hā

When one wants to cross a large ocean, he requires a strong boat. It is said that this human form of life is a good boat by which one can cross the ocean of nescience. In the human form of life one can obtain the guidance of a good navigator, the spiritual master. One also gets a favorable wind by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, and that wind is the instructions of Kṛṣṇa. The human body is the boat, the instructions of Lord Kṛṣṇa are the favorable winds, and the spiritual master is the navigator. The spiritual master knows well how to adjust the sails to catch the winds favorably and steer the boat to its destination. If, however, one does not take advantage of this opportunity, one wastes the human form of life. Wasting time and life in this way is the same as committing suicide.

The word labdhvāpavargyam is significant in this verse, because according to Jīva Gosvāmī, āpavargyam, or the path of liberation, does not refer to merging into the impersonal Brahman but to sālokyādi-siddhi, which means attaining the very planet where the Supreme Personality of Godhead resides. There are five kinds of liberation, and one is called sāyujya-mukti, or merging into the existence of the Supreme, or the impersonal Brahman effulgence. However, since there is a chance of one’s falling down again into the material sky from the Brahman effulgence, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī advises that in this human form of life one’s only aim should be to go back home, back to Godhead. The words sa vañcitaḥ indicate that once a person has obtained the human form of life, he is actually cheated if he does not make preparations to go back home, back to Godhead. The position of all nondevotees, who are not interested in going back to Godhead, is very much lamentable, for the human form of life is meant for executing devotional service and nothing else.

vande ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaishnavams ca

sri-rupam sagrajatam saha-gana-raghunathanvitam tam sa jivam

sadvaitam savadhutam parijana-sahitam krishna-caitanya-devam

sri-radha-krishna-padan saha-gana-lalita- sri-visakhanvitams ca

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine

So when you hate somebody, you're envious of them. Love means there's no envy and hate means there's envy. So why is one envious of oneself as stated in the verse because he's wanting to not utilize the human form of life and actually hates his very self. He's trying to misidentify. If you tell him that you are the eternal spiritual being, he becomes very disturbed. He wants to just think he's the body.

So his conception of happiness is gratify, gratify, gratify the senses. So if you say he's a spiritual being, he doesn't want to hear that. It means he has to suffer the results of his sinful activities. It opens up the idea of karma, that I'm a spiritual being. So, he hates that concept. He's envious of the concept that I'm a spiritual being. He just wants to believe that am the body, let me eat, eat, eat, mate, mate, mate, sleep, sleep, sleep, and defend, defend, defend as much as possible. And try to lie as much as you can while you can. That's the philosophy.

So Prabhupada very, very, very excellently points out all these people, all these, the karmis, the yogis, those who are the fruit of activities, even the modern day karmis building all their airplanes and their internet and their iPhones and so many things with their technologies. They're trying to imitate the ways that the demigods create a heavenly atmosphere on this planet through machines, inventions, etc. So the karmis, the growth karmis on this planet, advanced karmis, who are engaged in fruitive activities for elevation to a higher planet. And of course they're not karma yogis, they're high level karmis. Those who go to the heavenly planets, they are higher level karmis, they're not karmic yogis. Karmic yoga is the beginning of devotional service. You're attached to acting in an intuitive way, but you offer the results of Krishna. That's karmic yoga. Then you go to the yogis who want to do all kinds of austerity and become smaller and smaller and greater and greater. You can pass through any wall with no difficulty. You can become smaller and smaller. You can't be locked in a jail cell but you can easily pass out because you can become smaller, even into the iron, even through metal you can pass because you, you become smaller than the smaller thing. Smaller than an atom, and also they can develop all kinds of mystic powers to all kinds of amazing things to test people how advanced they are. So whether you are a karmic, a yogi, or a jñānī trying to merge into the Brahman effulgence is just mental speculation. It's all sense gratification. That's the point. Maybe more subtle sense gratification but still even desire to become one with the Lord is also sense gratification. I'm not the body but I want to become one with the Lord is subtle sense gratification. So the point is that sense gratification, because we're not these senses, sense gratification will never satisfy us. We keep running, running, running, gratify my senses, gratify, gratify, gratify. We go crazy to gratify the senses, but it doesn't make sense to gratify the senses because it's not us. It's like the old example, you go to the gas station, you fill the air in the tires, you put oil in the engine, you put gasoline in the gas tank, but the driver is starving to death. What's the good of giving all the facilities to the car, when the driver is starving to death? Your first business is to make sure the driver is well fed. Make sure he has proper clothing, proper healthy condition, that's the first business, so the soul is actually the driver, and the body is the vehicle, so if you give good facilities to the vehicle and neglect the driver isn't that foolish? Wouldn't that be asinine? For the PhD brain we should be able to understand that It would be absolutely crazy to serve the vehicle and neglect the driver. And here in this material world, this crazy nightmare of material existence, everything is the body, the body, the body, the body, the body, the body, the body, the body, the body, everything is the body. Completely, they say there is no soul. That's very common philosophy. There is no soul. I'm a body and so gratify as much as I can while I get a chance. That's the philosophy. But such a philosophy is suicidal. That's killing the soul. You want to kill it. So it's a suicidal philosophy. Therefore Krishna is coming to deliver us from this insane philosophy.

dehino ’smin yathā dehe

kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā

tathā dehāntara-prāptir

dhīras tatra na muhyati

As the embodied soul continually passes this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at the time of death. Self-realized souls are not bewildered by such a change. So if we're not self-realized, we're bewildered. If we're not self-realized, we get sick, we're bewildered. I get to become an old man in a wheelchair with hearing aids and thick glasses. I'll become bewildered if I'm not self-realized. So the point is, become self-realized. Don't cheat yourself by not becoming self-realized. The difficulty is there's so many people offering self-realization but that is not really is self-realization.

I don't know and it was called the self-realization fellowship when I was a young spiritual seeker. They had me sitting and staring at a candle to become self-realized. Can you imagine sitting and staring at a candle to become self-realized? It didn't work. I burned all the lessons. I got a little bliss at burning all the lessons. It came in the mail. We didn't have internet in those days. So I got in a physical mail and I get a letter in the mail of my weekly lessons. I had burned all the lessons because it didn't work. You have to have a bona fide spiritual master. It's a big business now, the guru business. It's like when I was in San Francisco, there was some guy, he said he was the messiah of the new age. They had even a center, the messiah of the new age. He had many followers. He was just a cheater. Messiah of the new age. So this world is full of all these cheaters taking the name of guru, the name of Messiah, you see, and just cheat people and just leave them, get their money, get their following.

So that's the difference between Prabhupada and these others. But the spiritual master has to come in a disciplic succession.

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam

imaṁ rājarṣayo

This disciplic succession. The bona fide spiritual master is not a self-became guru. He comes in the representative of his spiritual master, his representative of his spiritual master, goes all the way back, back, back, back to Krishna. Krishna is the original spiritual master, and He enlightened Lord Brahma, Lord Brahma enlightened Narada muni, and then he enlightened Vyasadeva, the compiler of Vedic wisdom. So then it goes down to Madhvacharya, it goes down, down, down, down a whole list. So the bona fide spiritual master is not a self-became guru. He's simply a delivery man. Just like the postman, he comes to your house and delivers your letter. Somebody sends you a donation, in the mail. The postman doesn't open the mail and take the donation out for himself. He gives the letter as it is. Whatever is coming, He doesn't open it up and change it or add or subtract anything. Simply as it is. Therefore we have Bhagavad Gita As It Is. There's a very popular edition in India, Dr. Radhakrishnan's famous Bhagavad Gita. He says it is not that Krishna we should surrender. Can you imagine? He says it is completely opposite. It is not that Krishna we should surrender. And that was a very popular Gita in India. Dr. Radha Krishna's Bhagavad-gita. So Prabhupada has given Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Krishna says,

sarva-dharmān parityajya

mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja

ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo

mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Give up all cheating religion, all bogus religion, and fully surrender to me. I deliver you from all your sinful reactions. 'mā śucaḥ' you don't have to worry about anything. Krishna takes away all the worries. If we simply surrender to Krishna, no more anxiety. 'mā śucaḥ' No more worries. Give up all worries or confusion of rudiment, give it all up.

Are you bewildered? As long as we do not fully surrender to Krishna we got to be bewildered. Bewildered at all, bewildered. But if we fully surrender to Krishna all the problems are finished. When we fully surrender to Krishna we'll know how to think, how to speak, how to act in every situation. We'll become perfect in all thoughts, all words, and all actions. So the bona fide spiritual master teaches us how to surrender to Krishna, not to the unborn, unmanifest, or to this or that, the white light or whatever they may teach. Now you have to merge into the white light.

One so-called teaching was - lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void. Turn your mind off, surrender to the emergence of nothingness. Can you imagine what kind of teaching that is? Turn off your mind and surrender to nothingness. That's not very practical. Actually, the philosophy of nothingness is very interesting. Because nothingness is also something, it's a concept. You say nothingness is the ultimate reality, that concept is something. So that concept, according to the philosophy of nothingness, that concept neglects itself. Nothingness cannot exist because nothing itself is a concept. It is something. So actually nothingness cannot exist. So there has to be something. You're a PhD candidate, that makes sense to you. Nothingness does not exist because itself is a concept. It negates itself. So, something must exist therefore. You find out the original something which everything has come, now you come.

You see,

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ


anādir ādir govindaḥ


Krishna is the supreme Godhead. He has no origin. He is the origin of all and He is the prime cause of all causes. So according to Brahmaji, that original something is Krishna. It's not the oneness. It's not nothingness. It's Krishna himself. So you may say, well, I don't know if that's true or not. But here's what you can do to find out if it's true or not. Just by applying it. There's a very very interesting sentence of two words only. It's a complete sentence in two words. Here's how the sentence goes. Truth works. Period. Truth works. Truth is, in other words, truth is practical. If something is true, it's practical. If something is untrue, it's not practical. Something you can do with it. Truth works. So, just try, test out Brahmaji 's concept. Does it work?

We understand there must be something as nothing, nothing cannot exist by definition. So there has to be something and what is that something, how will I find out that something that Lord Brahma said that something is Krishna, say well I don't know maybe it's something else. But that's called mental speculation maybe this it may be that maybe this maybe that maybe maybe maybe maybe it's a lie maybe this, but try out just try it. Try out Brahma's concept and see how it works. See if it works. You can try out the original source of the light, the original source of this or that, the big rock or whatever, the ocean or whatever, the air or whatever, fire or whatever. Just try out the different philosophies of that, what is the original something, and see what's more practical. See what actually works, what actually elevates the consciousness and liberates. So if you actually try out all the different concepts of what that original something must be, and you try out Krishna consciousness, as taught by the great Vaishnava, Acharya, This really works. This is practical. This actually liberates me from all anxieties and brings me to an enlightened state of consciousness beyond time and space. Can you imagine coming to an enlightened state of consciousness beyond time and space? We're talking about high level stuff. Beyond time and space. A consciousness beyond time and space. That's where this will take you. And it's not difficult. You don't have to be a great scholar or PhD candidate to understand it. Even a little kid can get into it. How do you do it? You just do this.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Then all things will become revealed to you in due course. You see this Hare Krishna mantra, actually we already have an enlightened state of consciousness within us just sleeping right now. You're already an enlightened soul, a purely enlightened soul, but that original state is covered by so many layers of lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion, envy, etc. It's like if you have a nice house, but you went away for 10,000 years. You come back and there's dust everywhere. Wow, I've got to dust this house, get a vacuum cleaner, maybe hire a cleaning service. I mean, that is like 1 foot of dust in the hole. It's amazing. You're away for 10,000 years and now it's so... But we've been away from Krishna much more than 10,000 years. 10,000 lifetimes, even more than that. So that's how we run away. There should be a lot of dust. Naturally there would be a lot of dirt accumulating every time. So that's what we're dealing with. That's why we can't, even though Krishna is right here, right here in front of us, we can't see him. Do you know you have Krishna standing right in front of you right now smiling at you and blessing you? We can't see Krishna because there's so much dirt accumulated for millions and millions and trillions and quadrillions of lifetimes. So Krishna says, okay, I'm gonna make it easy for you. In this Kali Yuga especially I'm gonna make it super easy because you have a very short lifetime. In the Dwarpa Yuga and the Satya Yuga they live for a hundred thousand years. In the Treta Yuga 10000 years. In the Dwarpa Yuga 101000 years. In the Kaliyuga a hundred years. And actually the average, you know the average age is, average age is right now? Seventy-nine. So I know people, very few, it's very rare to become a centurion. A centurion, who live to be a hundred years, it's very rare. So we have a very short life span. Therefore Krishna has made it very very very very very very easy for us. Just chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

It's described as the mirror of the mind. Now if your mirror is too much dust you can't see anything. But if you get some windex and you really work on it you can clear away the mirror where it's perfect. So that's what we're doing is the Krishna consciousness movement is meant to clear away all that accumulated dirt. We can actually see our true selves as eternal spiritual beings and we can see the supreme person, I, the God of the source of all existence. So, there's a very simple thing in this regard. It's simple for the simple and difficult for the crooked.

If you just, in a humble way, say, okay, it sounds good, let me try it. Take a humble move. Alright, I don't really know anything, I am a lost soul. You're telling me this will actually liberate. Okay, I'll give it a try. Simple, honest person. Alright, you come in, want to criticizes, try to criticize. Well, you people don't know what you're talking about. You put this weird stuff on your forehead. You bow down. You put your hand in a bead bag. What kind of weirdos are you? You come with a critical attitude. Crooked... It's simple for the simple, difficult for the crooked. So don't come with a crooked attitude wanting to find fault. Come in with a simple, all right, I'll give it a try. You people seem to be nice, seem to be genuine, seem to be blissful. Let me try this. I've tried everything else. Let me try this. The other thing didn't work. Let me try this and see what happens. So if you take it in a very simple way, you'll find it's not difficult to become Krishna conscious. Not at all difficult. So we're asking you to come with a simple, humble mood and you'll find it very easy to awaken your dharma and Krishna consciousness. Is there any questions? See if we have any questions rolling in from the online people. Any questions from the assembled Vaishnavas on the internet from all over the world?

No, we can end a little early today.


No, you are number two.

Question. (inaudible) Females. Okay. Tell us about the first 25 years, how good are the 25 years, and how good are the 25 years.

Actually, we're going to get another angle. The traditional system for females, and for males also, there's a number of different angles. Before they attained puberty, see, once you get puberty your sex desire becomes awakened. You want to find some way to satisfy it by getting married. It's a natural tendency. In the Vedic culture, the little boys and little girls were married even before they got puberty. The girl's living with her parents, the boy's living with his parents and the girl would take things to her husband, the little boy and the little girl. The little girl would take, she would take the dish out for her husband, the little boy, you know. The little girl and a little boy. That was the traditional system in India, in Vedic culture. So, then if she has a sex desire, and she got a husband you see. She gets, even they have children, about the age of twelve, they have children. The first child, the age of twelve. So that's one angle looking at it. Now, That's one way of looking at it.

Now, there's also the way of looking at it, let's look at the men's side, and try to understand the women's side. The brahmachari (for 25 years), married at 25, and after 25 years Vanaprastha, at the age of fifty, Vanaprastha, and they go to Sannyasa after that. After a householder of 25 to 50, 50 to 75 Vanaprastha and then Sannyas.

So what were the women doing in that time? The women, some women would, women were not meant to be brahmacharinis actually. Brahmacharini was not traditional system in India. There were too many men, meaning brahmachari, the traditional system was whatever men got married they could take more than one wife also. The traditional system was some men would become brahmachari and some would get married. And then, as I mentioned, the system was all women should marry. Brahmacharini was in ISKCON. There's no traditional thing as Brahmacharini. But making adjustments to the Western culture, Prabhupad had invented Brahmacharini. There is no such thing in Vedic culture. All the girls are married. So they're married. They remain with their husband at the age of 25. Then by 50 there's no more sexes, no more sexes, so there's no more producing children. And then the husband and wife, they would travel together to all these places. And then at the age of 75, the husband would take Sannyas and the women would be cared for by her children. She would take care of her, the children would take care of her. That was the system for females. Do you want to add something to it, Devi? Gurumataji?


Gurumataji:Brahmacharini, actually in ISKCON now, anybody who comes is not a Brahmacharini. All Brahmacharini.

Sankarshan Das: Oh, the new system is everybody is Brahmacharini. You can't stay Brahmacharini? That's offensive?

Gurumataji: Not Brahmacharini. They are all gone through the process. They are not Brahmacharini.

Sankarshan Das: We are coming out of the modern day world where go through the sex is the standard. I mean the standard when I grew up again, if you weren't, if you're a brahmachari, it becomes you some kind of weirdo you know, I mean you haven't had sex, what's wrong with you boy? like Everybody expected to have sex to show that you're a man. That was the whole philosophy. You have to have illicit sex otherwise you're no good. I mean it's a ridiculous culture. You're coming out of a culture where everybody, illicit sex is the standard. If you don't have any, you're considered some kind of a weirdo. You ain't having that sex. What's wrong with you? A very degraded culture.

Now what about don't want to get married? Yeah, that option is there. If the girl doesn't want to get married, we don't force people to get married. Marriage is the best thing because marriage is the best thing. Because then you have a whole system of being protected the whole life. But we have women who don't want to get married and they go to maintain themselves. They work in a corporate job in an atmosphere with all kinds of exploitation going on, illicit sex is going on. It's a very difficult thing actually. We don't force women to get married, but it's recommended to get married if possible. But what if there's no man available. That's another thing. They have to remain single. There's women who want to get a husband, but there's no husband available. Or some rascal husband who doesn't want to follow the principles, not initiated. So it's a difficult thing. But the beauty of it is that If he takes shelter of Krishna, Krishna will take care of you in spite of whatever the situation may be.

Amala Purana: When the devotee reaches the stage of full surrender as Lord Krishna demands in the verse, sarva-dharmān parityajya. hmm.. not sure of the second half of the question. What's the second half of your question, while you are finishing it yet, somebody got in there in the middle of it. Now we will wait for your second half to come.

Yugadharma Devi Dasi: How can I identify and get rid of subtle sense gratification. Yeah, that's something we have a problem with, we follow principles but yet within our heart we have all these desires for subtle sense enjoyment. Even, even when we want to enjoy by thinking about sense enjoyment. We don't engage in doing it grossly but in our mind we try to enjoy it subtly. By contemplation on sense gratification. So how do you get rid of them? Well, you have to understand even Jamanacharya Albandru, he had that same experience. He was a king having so many sexual enjoyments with women. But then he became a Vaishnava. Actually he became a great Vaishnava Acharya, but his mind would flash back on those things. So you can do one of two things. You can drool over those things, try to enjoy them, or you can spit at them. So that's what you do. You spit at the thought. You have subtle sense gratification, spit at it, don't try to drool over it, oh yeah, let me enjoy these thoughts. No, spit at it. His lips will curl at the taste and he spit at the thought. So that's what you do when you have subtle sense gratification. You're coming up, spit at it. Get out of my mind, you rascal fellow. You're not welcome here. Get out of here and don't you dare come back again. That kind of an additive. Spit at it.

Bhaktin Sheela: I understand about envy towards others, but I'm not able to understand envy on oneself.

That means to deny your spiritual identity and misidentify with your material body. Now that's envy of one's, envy of your identity as a spiritual being, you try to negate it and not embrace it, and kick it away. No, let me enjoy it in my sense, envy of one's spiritual identity.

Bhaktin Priya: Does this make sense to you Ajay? Does this make sense to you? Okay. Do you have any questions? I'm here to serve you. So don't be shy. You get first priority. Both of you get first priority. Okay, here we go. How does desire to serve Krishna different? Since you mentioned wanting to merge is serving.

No. Wanting to merge is denying the personality of God. No, it's not. Wanting to merge in Krishna is not service to Krishna. It's denying His Personality.

Anusuya: It's mentioned one has millions of lifetimes accumulated dust of anarthas in one's heart. So how one can become free from this dirt in one's heart at one lifetime by taking complete shelter of Guru and Krishna.

As Krishna says, sarva-dharmān parityajya, meaning He will deliver you. As soon as you completely surrender, Krishna can cut through. You cannot cut through by your own strength. Krishna in one stroke can finish all those millions of years of accumulation. So taking a complete shelter of Guru and Krishna, in one second it can all be dissipated.

Amala Purana: When the devotee reaches the stage of full of surrender? 

Whenever you do it. That's when you can achieve it in one second. In one nanosecond we can achieve immediately, but we're still doubt, well I don't know maybe, maybe maybe maybe there's something on his partial surrender? yes I'm 1% surrender 90 we can go 1% as I mentioned the other day you see we get a little surrendered okay, I'll chant Japa, but I'll still you know still do this or that, I still go to movies or whatever, you know there's different levels of strictness. But even when you're following all the principles, there's a tendency to let a sense of enjoyment is also there. So there's, as I mentioned, you're crossing over a mountain, the uphill climb until you get to the top. You're not there yet, but now it's a downhill slide. So the beginning is a real struggle. It's like you're addicted to illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling but you say, okay, I'm going to give it up. I understand it's not good for me but he still has a desire, like I have one disciple who's having difficulty with smoking. He made a vow, but yet he has difficulty. He keeps smoking. He wants to give it up. He's getting professional help. He's writing to me about it. He wants to give it up but he's got this huge addiction to cigarettes. So he's fighting it and fighting it and fighting it and giving, he's getting, he's working on it very sincerely to give it up. So he's partially surrendered and still giving into his senses. And gradually you'll get free from that anartha of cigarette smoking. You should have given up immediately, but he's fallen back in his previous habits. It happens sometimes to initiated devotees. They fall back to their previous bad habits. They want to do it, but they want, they've made a vow to do it, but they, they're not, they fall back. So they're partially surrendered. He's working on it to get free from them.

Paramahamsa Das: When one materially struggles, the impetus is to maintain status quo. Or to become more happy, what is the impetus for spiritual struggles?

It's an interesting question, see if I understand it. When materially struggled, the impetus is to maintain status quo. The key is, in the midst of your material struggles, you have to struggle spiritually at the same time. It's like someone being struggling having to work two jobs just to maintain, paying his rent or whatever it may be. He's working 2 jobs so many hours a day because he's not making enough from one job to even maintain the family. He's materially struggling. So you have to spiritually struggle also to remain Krishna conscious in the midst of your material struggles. Without spiritual struggle you can't be happy. You may be successful in material struggles but still you won't be happy. You have to struggle spiritually.

yato yato niścalati

manaś cañcalam asthiram

tatas tato niyamyaitad

ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet

From whatever and wherever the mind wanders, through its flickering, unsettling nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.

The struggle is to be Krishna conscious in the midst of your material struggles. You have to struggle spiritually. If you focus on that, you'll find the material struggles become easier and easier and easier to deal with them. If you don't struggle spiritually, your material struggle will continue for your whole life. If you struggle spiritually to be Krishna conscious in every situation, no matter whether it's easy or hard, na śocati na kāṅkṣati, in happiness and distress, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā, will always be joyful in the ecstasy of Krishna consciousness. So you have to do spiritual struggle that's more important than material struggles.

Okay, anything else?

Devotee: Your grace mentioned that, so, like you want to enjoy intellectually, people like who are doing fine selecting good karma also, there is tendency of sense gratification by doing higher activities.

Sankarshan Das: Yeah, when you do pious activities that's also sense gratification. You get somebody recognized or to go to the heavenly planets or some wealthy man wants to open a charity hospital so people think he's very nice. They can be admired by society. That's a subtle sense gratification.

Devotee: So, like, how do we maintain, I hope I am not contest. Is that, so we should not do that?

Sankarshan Das: No, You can do it and make it a Krishna conscious hospital.


Sankarshan Das: Have the Prasadam served, there's Kirtan, it's like Hare Krishna, we have charity hospitals in this town also. I remember Bhaktivinoda's hospital, I've been in India. You can have a, but make it Krishna conscious, then it's beautiful, it's wonderful. Then it's transcendental. They have a material hospital, but there's no Krishna consciousness. Or they serve me, but there's no Krishna consciousness. Make it Krishna conscious, then it's transcendental. It helps you liberate you from material existence. Just like a free food program, you make it Prasadam, and you get spiritual benefit. Even vegetarian food, if a free program of vegetarian food, but it's not Prasadam, you get the karma of giving those people eating vegetarian food is also sinful karma if it's not Prasadam. So you have to make it transcendental, Krishna conscious, and then you get great benefits. If you feed millions of people Prasadam, wow, you get huge benefits. That's a very wonderful thing to do. Does that make clear?

Devotee: Yes.

Sankarshan Das: Make it transcendental piety, not mundane piety. Then it is very beautiful, wonderful.

Devotee: Just to make sure that I got this right. If I do a higher karma, I dedicate it to Krishna and do it from Him as center, then it's okay to do.

Sankarshan Das: If I do what?

Devotee: If I do higher education like say inventing things or like helping technology to move forward so that it could help humanity and then keeping Krishna etc.

Sankarshan Das: Oh like computer science?

Devotee: Yes.

Sankarshan Das: I can invent a a new, a more high-tech iPhone.

Devotee: Yes.

Sankarshan Das:Better iPhone. K-Phone. Krishna Phone. Well if you're doing it to make a living, simply to make a better high-tech iPhone will not liberate you from material existence. But if you're doing that to earn a good living, and you use that, and you engage in Krishna's service and that's transcendental. In other words, most of our devotees, many of our devotees are working in high-tech industry they're not doing direct Krishna consciousness in their job but they're using results, they are donating money, they're giving their free time, then it's transcendental.

But you're thinking by doing this job and then coming with a better iPhone. What are they going to do? They'll look at porno on a better iPhone. Better facility for watching porno. You have the, simply the higher technology itself is not beneficial. We can see now that by high tech, more people are looking at porno on their smartphone. People are watching porno all day long on their smart phones. Previously, porno was hard to get. You had to go to a magazine called Playboy magazine. We were kids. They wouldn't sell it to minors. You had to get a porno, you had to go buy a Playboy magazine and lie about your age or something. It was very difficult to get porno when I was a kid. Very difficult. So I never saw it. But now it's very easy to get. If anybody can go to a porno site on the internet, even the kids can watch porn on the internet site. By this high technology, porno is more easy to get now. It's polluting the mind. So high technology in itself can lead to more degradation. So what you do with it, what you do with the income, that will determine whether you've been benefited or not. You're earning a good living and you make donations to the temple and you can live a very Krishna-conscious lifestyle and you can go and take the money, you go to Vrindavan and for pilgrimage and bathing in the Jamuna, then it's good. But in itself it's not going to liberate you making a better technology. How would you do with that income? If you can make a higher technology that gives Krishna consciousness to everybody, for example, if you can, here's a good example, if you can make a site which attracts more viewers than CNN, and again, like on CNN you can get mundane advertisements, right? If you can come up with a technology to make a site which attracts more people by its very unusual and very amazing nature. Attract a larger viewership in CNN and you can use it to present to Hare Krishna mantra to all the viewers, a picture of Krishna to every viewer and you can make Krishna popular through technology and that's great. You know what I'm saying? Does that make sense to you? The technology itself can give better facility for sense enjoyment which is detrimental to the population. But when It forces everybody to become Krishna conscious by this technology and it's a great benediction. But if you're just working a job and you're doing it to earn a good living, then how you use that living, that can be beneficial. The technology itself, higher technology will not benefit humanity. Higher technology is actually degrading the human race. I pointed out higher technology is degrading the human race now. Higher technology is degrading the human race.

Devotee: Okay, that's true. If there is a high chance of like degrading humanity and psychology. But if let's say a good person is not going to do it, somebody else will kind of...

Sankarshan Das: Well let him get the sinful reaction instead of you. Let him get the sinful karma rather than you. Why should you get the sinful reaction for polluting the human race? Let him get it.

Devotee: So Prabhu, like, I'll tell you to be honest, by Krishna consciousness, how ...

Sankarshan Das: You can use higher technology for studying Krishna consciousness, that's very good. Come up with something that will make the whole world Krishna conscious. You should think what can I do by higher technology to make the whole world Krishna conscious and you are in good shape? You know what Prabhupad said? He said, become Guru and deliver the whole world. You come with the technology to make the whole world Krishna conscious you get unlimited benefit in making the whole world Krishna conscious. So you will get unlimited benefit. I'll give you a little secret, you've got the potential of making the whole world Krishna conscious right there in your bead bag.

In your bead bag you have the potential to make the whole world a Christian country right there in your bead bag.

In your bead bag you have the potential to delivering all living entities suffering the material existence. Because Prabhupad said, if you chant the holy name of the Lord purely without any offense you become Jagadguru, the spiritual master of the whole world, and under your influence, everybody in the whole world becomes Krishna conscious. So you want to, your potency for delivering the whole world is right there in that bead bag.

We have more questions rolling in I think. Okay, we have 

Govardhan Das: Devotional life is something very challenging and I'm going to make it simple?

Pure chanting is the key.

Kirtan Devi Dasi: What factor is holding oneself from surrendering completely?

Sankarshan Das: Our mental concoctions.

So we thank everybody for tuning in.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare Hare.

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